Amherst Early Music Online

Hi everyone,

I hope you can join me on Saturday, for “Playing our Way through Terpsichore.” We’ll work on three types of bransles, a courante, a canary, and the Spanish Pavane, including Michael Praetorius’ variations on this famous tune.

And there is also Dorothy Olsson and Peggy Murray’s dance class on Saturday, “Playing Our Way Through Terpsichore!” Learning how to dance these dances is a great way to really understand the music of Terpsichore.

With best wishes,

Letitia Berlin

Play the Recorder Month

Dear Recorder Fans,

Here’s the latest information about the events coming up for Play the Recorder Month. I am forwarding this message from the British Columbia Recorder Society (BCRS); it has a lot dates and times and links to resources. I hope we have some SRS members who will take the challenge and enter the photo contest! Here is the forwarded email message, consider yourself an unofficial honorary BCRS member!

Did you know that March 2021 all over North America is Play-the-Recorder Month? And did you also know that BCRS has joined forces with recorder societies up and down the West Coast to create events to celebrate? We’re all about teamwork at BCRS!

First is our BCRS contest, #WePlayRecorder

We’re asking recorder players from anywhere (not just North America), to submit photos, videos, or memes showing the recorder out in the world. It’s all about raising recorder awareness and encouraging folks to give it a try.

The competition is now open and ends on March 20, 2021. Then you, and everyone in our community, have the opportunity to blind vote for your top three favourites. Winners will be announced on March 29, 2021 via email. Of course, we have prizes and they’re for anyone anywhere. Specific details noted here.

Second, Portland Recorder Society has gone virtual for their 2021 Columbia Gorge Early Music Retreat on March 20th and 21st. Six sessions with topics that you have yet to see anywhere else. You’ll find it hard to choose, so why not register for all six? And, in 2022, when we’re back face-to-face, consider a trip for this fabulous retreat.

Third, Seattle Recorder Society is hosting on March 6th at 1pm a 90 minute virtual rehearsal for the ARS commissioned piece Transparent Letters Across the Sky. Vicki Boeckman will lead the session. Find the details here and be ready to play with the ARS on March 20th! (Note that you will need to join ARS to download the music for this event).

And finally, the ARS is gathering everyone together on March 20th for an en masse virtual “orchestra” performance of Transparent Letters Across the Sky. Composer Melika M. Fitzhugh will also lead a lecture on modern composition for the recorder and the use of extended techniques. Further details here. (Note that you will need to join ARS to download the music for this event).

Tish Berlin Classes: Trills, Bach, and Ars Subtilior!


Please see attached PDF with my class descriptions for Tuesdays on February 16, 23 and March 2 and 9, and a one-time class with members of Calextone on Friday February 19th.

I hope you can join me! And don’t forget to check out the Amherst Early Music Online schedule for this weekend and all of February, at

With best wishes,

Letitia Berlin

Zoom music classes with TIsh in February:March 2021.pdf

Tibia Recorder Duo’s Practice Challenge #22


Please read on for your invitation to join Tibia Recorder Duo (Tish Berlin and Frances Blaker) for our 22nd Practice Challenge. We start on Monday January 18th and finish on Sunday February 28th. We hope you’ll join us!

Letitia Berlin and Frances Blaker
Tibia Recorder Duo

January 9, 2021

Dear fellow musicians,
In this time of COVID-19, getting together to make music with others is too risky, but we all need music more than ever! During Practice Challenges # 17 to 21 (the first five PCs during almost-national shelter-in-place orders) there was a wonderful sense of community with our fellow practicers. We want to keep that sense of community going! We hope you’ll join Tibia Recorder Duo in our quest to make practicing recorder (or any other instrument, or voice) a part of everyday life for six weeks. Even a five-minute practice session counts, so don’t be daunted! We are here to help and encourage!

#22: A Practice Challenge for Extraordinary Times
Monday, January 18th – Sunday, February 28, 2021

Tier 1 is free and is designed to provide a community of practicers (that’s you!) with:

  • Inspirational messages once a week from Tish & Frances!
  • As incentive and accountability, you can opt to email us weekly check-in reports. (We read them all, but can’t respond to them all – there are just too many of you!)
  • Participation in the private member-led group email exchange. This part is also optional, but we love this part of the Practice Challenge – participants always ask great questions and receive helpful support from the group. We use for this forum.

Tier 2 is a paid tier – the fee is $32. Tier 2 participants receive all of the benefits of Tier 1 AND:

  • Can email us with questions as part of their weekly check-in report, and we can answer them!
  • Practice materials! The materials we send are not homework and you can use them as you see fit. Those of you who have your own materials to work on may wish to use the PC materials as supplemental material, save them for later, or just to play for fun!
  • Access to our play-along videos – we play trios minus one, so you can play along with us. You’ll have access to the music in advance, with markings for phrasing and articulation. Every other week you’ll receive two trio-minus-one videos – one geared toward more advanced players and one toward less advanced players. For alternate weeks, see next item.
  • Barbara Weiss, harpsichordist, will provide play-along continuo recordings on alternate weeks. For Practice Challenge #22 we’ll be focusing on dance movements by French Baroque composers geared toward the more advanced players, and on dances from the 1612 Terpsichore publication geared toward the less advanced players. Barbara can also provide tailored recordings for you – contact her privately at harpsichordweiss to inquire about her rates.

Click here to register for Tier 1 or Tier 2!

We hope you will join us at one of these two levels. As always, please reply to this email or contact us at our website if you have any questions.

If you do not receive a confirmation email from us, your registration or payment did not go through. Please contact us for help at tibiarecorderduo or try again.

Now, let the practicing begin!

Musically yours,
Tish & Frances

Letitia Berlin and Frances Blaker
Tibia Recorder Duo
visit us on Facebook!

Tips to Help you Navigate the Practice Challenge Google Site for Registration and Payment

  1. Go to It’s probably better to do this on a laptop or desktop, but it should also work on a tablet. If you have trouble, use a different browser, such as Chrome, DuckDuckGo, or others.
  1. Fill in the requested information, then click “Next”. You may need to scroll back up to the top of the next page. You may also need to move your cursor around the screen to bring up the necessary forms.
  1. If you selected Tier 2, you’ll be asked for more information. Fill in your request if you have one. Click on “Submit”. Once again, you’ll need to scroll back up to find the “Submit” button.
  1. If you selected Tier 1 you will be taken to a page that confirms your registration.
  1. If you selected Tier 2, scroll to the bottom of the page for the payment information. We have removed the PayPal button because too many people couldn’t make it work before. Please use one of the options (Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, or check) listed on the registration page.

If paying by check, please mail to Tish Berlin and Frances Blaker at 806 Washington Ave., Albany CA 94706. Your name will be added to Tier 2 when your check arrives.

Tibia Recorder Duo
Letitia Berlin and Frances Blaker

January Zoom music classes with Tish Berlin


Here is some information about classes in January. I hope you can join me!

With best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday,

Tish Berlin’s Zoom classes January 12, 19, and 26, 2020

1.The Trill of the Baroque II
Tuesday January 12, 19, and 26, 10:00 am – 11:30 pm Pacific/1:00 – 2:30 pm Eastern.
Each Tuesday we’ll drill Baroque trill fingerings and other essential ornaments, then work on Baroque duets to practice the trills in context. For intermediate to upper intermediate recorders.Pitch: A=440

2. Susanne and the Elders: Settings from the 16th Century
Tuesday January 12, 19, and 26, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Pacific/4:30 – 6:00 pm Eastern.
One of the greatest tunes of all time, Susanne un jour, uses a poem by Guillaume Guéroult to tell the story of Susannah from the Book of Daniel (an addition to the book in Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches). The story of the persecuted Susannah struck a chord with composers and painters alike, so we’ll accompany our music with brief visits to paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi, Tintoretto, Jacopo Bassano, and others. We will explore the original polyphonic composition by Didier Lupi Second, and subsequent settings by Orlande de Lassus, Claude Le Jeune, Cipriano de Rore, and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, and part of Lassus’ Mass based on the chanson. For upper intermediate to advanced recorders.Pitch: A=440.

HOW TO PAY Payment: $25 per individual class (take one Susanne ung jour class, pay $25, take two Susanne ung jour classes, pay $50, etc.) Electronic payment is preferred, but checks are also accepted. Please make Canadian checks out in US dollars and have a US bank name and address printed on the check. Visit to learn how to register and pay.

January Zoom classes.pdf


Alasdair Fraser New Year Workshop and Ceilidh

Alasdair Fraser’s Annual Community Music Workshop & Ceilidh

an online gathering to kick off the New Year

Bring an instrument or just come for the craic!

Saturday, JANUARY 2, 2021, 1:00-6:30pm, Pacific time

A “zoom” event, open to registrants only



1:30-3:30 pm WORKSHOP with Alasdair Fraser
We’ll explore a few tunes relevant to a good Scottish New Year celebration

3:30-4:30 pm BREAK & BLETHER

4:30-6:30 pm CEILIDH hosted by Summer McCall
Alasdair will gather us for a toast to the old year and a moment of remembrance.
Summer McCall will lead us into the ceilidh with a few virtual social dances,
and welcome participants to share a song/tune/poem/story, etc.

We’ll have some lovely listening time, as well as a festive frolic.


Advance registration only.
Family/Household $35, General/Single $20, Student/Youth $10


This event is sponsored by Alasdair Fraser’s Sierra Fiddle Camp
and underwritten by the Sierra Fiddle Village Fund
of the non-profit organization Scottish Fiddlers of California.

East Bay Workshop with Shira Kammen

Saturday, October 24, 2020
10:00 am – 11:30 am On Zoom*

Between the Worlds:
Celebrating Hallowe’en and Day of the Dead

Shira will lead us in magical music by Purcell, Machaut, Weelkes, and more, including laments for composers, and a spooky ballad or two. Come play any instrument you please and sing!

See brochure for more information and registration.


Hidden Valley Workshop

October 26 – 30, 2020  

Join us for an online series that will excite the brain and give you joy!
Revel in the lyrical sounds of the recorder, viola da gamba, and dulcian as you nurture your musical gifts in 3 daily classes via Zoom with expert faculty: Letitia Berlin, Francs Blaker, Joan Kimball, Larry Lipnik, and Shira Kammen

During some evenings, sit back and enjoy the Early Music faculty and Hidden Valley faculty perform exclusive online concerts. We will conclude the week with a Friday night open mic for students.
 The registration deadline is September 30th. The cost for the workshop is $375.00 and is all inclusive.   

Register Here! 

Zoom music classes with Tish Berlin and friends


I hope you can join me for one or more of these classes in September. You do not need a Zoom account to take the classes but it is easier to adjust your settings for music classes if you do. Accounts are free and can be established at If you already have a Zoom account you should update to version 5.2.2 for better music settings.

For a good class experience you will need a fast internet connection and a computer with a camera (built-in or external), and microphone (also built-in or external). Headphones or external speakers are highly recommended but not essential.

With best wishes for good health and music-making,


1. Tuesday September 8, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Pacific/4:30 – 6:00 pm Eastern
Technique Magnifying Glass: Tone
In this class, we will focus on exercises and etudes to develop a beautiful sound through our blowing and breathing, then we’ll apply the exercises to music. Air speed, vowels, connecting the body to the instrument – all this will make us more expressive musicians.
Class is geared toward the intermediate to upper intermediate player and anyone who wants a brush-up on breathing and blowing for the recorder. You will need an alto and tenor recorder at A=440.

2. Tuesday September 15, 9:45 am – 11:15 am Pacific/12:45 pm – 2:15 pm Eastern
Elements of Music: Finding Cadences, Phrases, and Making Music
In this class, Frances Blaker will join me as we work on a Baroque trio with you as our third player. We will help you learn how to identify cadences and phrases, learn where to place your breath marks to best serve the music, and work on some basic ornaments that we can add to the piece.
Class is geared toward the intermediate to upper intermediate player and anyone who wants to work in depth on elements of music in a Baroque piece. You will need an alto, tenor, and bass recorder at A=440.

3. Tuesday September 29, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Pacific/4:30 – 6:00 pm Eastern
From the Ground Up: Discovering the Beauty of the In Nomine in works by Parsons, Picforth, and Tye
We will explore three selections from this amazing body of polyphony, all based on a section of John Taverner’s early 16th century Mass which used the plainchant Gloria Tibi Trinitas as a cantus firmus, or ground/foundation for the song. You’ll have a chance to play the In nomine line in these consort pieces, holding the other voices together with its beautiful golden flame lighting the dense polyphony, as well as one other voice in each piece. Geared toward upper intermediate to advanced recorders and viols. Pitch: A=440.

Payment: $25 per class
If paying by check send to 806 Washington Ave Albany CA 94706. Canadian checks must be in US dollars and have a US bank name and address printed on the check. Sorry, Canadian friends!

Other forms of payment accepted: Venmo, Zelle, ApplePay, or PayPal. If using PayPal, please add $2.00 to your payment (per class), unless you have a bank account linked to your PayPal account and can use the “sending to a friend” option. Use this email address for all electronic payments: tishberlin.

Please register by filling out this form and returning it to me by email at tishberlin

1. Name:

2. Email address:

3. Mobile phone #:

4. Classes you want to take – please list by title and date:

5. How you intend to pay:

6. Recorder sizes you play:

7. Do you play alto up an octave?:

Would you or someone you know like to take any of these classes but need financial help to do so? I can help a limited number of people so just ask.

Know someone who wants to learn to play the recorder? The ARS is offering free beginner’s classes! I’ll be teaching a set of four classes for new soprano and tenor players in late September. Go to for more information.

Letitia Berlin
Tibia Recorder Duo

visit us on Facebook!

Zoom classes l- September 2020-1.docx